Snapchat Gets Hacked
Believed to be the first social media site in 2014 to be hacked, last week Snapchat had 4.6 million accounts breached, including account names and partial cell phone numbers. To add insult to injury, the hackers posted the stolen information and an explanation of why the hack was executed on this tech post from TheVerge.
Young peeps, mostly teenagers, have been drawn to the site since its inception in September 2011 because a user can send a pic or video that disappears upon opening in 10-seconds or less. Imagine the possibilities for regrettable selfies and sexting.
Snapchat reportedly turned down a multi-billion dollar purchase offer from Facebook last year; this episode will not add value to the company or its service. This is especially true for a company with a founding principle of preserving the anonymity of its users.
From a privacy standpoint, our cell numbers are hugely important for a variety of reasons. First, a cell number is a basic building block for a cyber thief. Also, we tend to hold onto our cell numbers for a long period of time; even longer than some of our social media accounts, some of our emails, user names and even residential addresses.
Second, if a hacker has your cell number you can be subject to "smishing"; spam that comes to you in the form of a text message that requests you to click on a link. When you do, malware is deposited into your cell phone that can retrieve stored data such as photos and contacts. Third, hackers can use your cell number to side-step some security measures in the world of e-commerce.
We here at the Law Blogger have taken note of the teen-aged "daily use" flight from trusted -and now ancient- sites like Facebook, to newer sites like Snapchat, Instagram, WeChat, and Vine. Teenagers simply do not appreciate the potential harm posed by hackers lurking on line within the seams of these new platforms.
Last week's Snapchat hacking episode hearkens social media users back to June 2012 and the infamous Linkedin hack [another ancient platform] resulting in 6.5 million compromised LI accounts. This blogger had to change his username and password on that buttoned-down social media site as a direct result of that crime.
If you have children that are active on such sites, take a moment to emphasize some basic security steps and the importance of not giving away your personal information.